With the first week of free agency now behind us, the CBSSports.com draftniks have now released their latest mock drafts and both have the Pittsburgh Steelers taking a defensive player with the 22nd overall selection in the first round.
After sticking with Michigan State cornerback Trae Waynes for the last several weeks, Rob Rang now has the Steelers selecting Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
New defensive coordinator Keith Butler inherits a unit that finished 27th in the NFL in pass coverage. None of the teams ranked worse made the playoffs. After heavy investments in the front seven over the past several years, the Steelers may turn to the secondary. Some believe that Johnson is the best cover corner in the draft.
The Steelers brass attended the Wake Forest Pro day and made sure to talk to Johnson’s parents. If he is ultimately the Steelers selection, it would mark the first time that the organization has drafted a cornerback in the first round since Chad Scott was selected in 1997.
As for Dane Brugler, who had the Steelers selecting Virginia linebacker Eli Harold in his last mock, he now has them drafting UCLA outside linebacker Owamagbe Odighizuwa.
With Jason Worilds retiring and Jarvis Jones not living up to his first round draft slot, pass rusher is a strong possibility here. Eli Harold and Odighizuwa are the top two options remaining and the UCLA edge rusher might be the better fit for Pittsburgh.
Being as representatives from 28 NFL teams were present at the UCLA Pro Day, one would think that the Steelers had personnel present for it. Even so, at this stage of the process, I think I’ll be surprised if Odighizuwa is ultimately the pick.